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Britain and EU release full text of post-Brexit trade deal

By AFP - Dec 26,2020 - Last updated at Dec 26,2020

In this file photo taken on October 21, 2019 EU and Union flags flutter in the breeze as Pro and anti-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in central London. According to a British government source a 'deal is done' on post-Brexit trade (AFP photo)

LONDON — Britain and the European Union on Saturday published the full text of the post-Brexit trade agreement aimed at governing their relationship when the UK definitively leaves the bloc's single market in just five days.

The document, which is more than 1,200 pages long, lays out detail on trade, law enforcement and dispute settlement among other arrangements after the UK leaves the single market and customs union on 31 December.

David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, told reporters on Saturday the deal was "one of the biggest and broadest agreements ever covering not just trading goods, but services, aviation, road transport, Social Security, health cooperation, law enforcement".

"This should be the beginning of a moment of national renewal for us," Frost said, reiterating that the agreement allowed Britain to leave the single market and the customs union without aligning to the EU and the European Court of Justice.

In the foreword to the copy of the text published by the UK government, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the agreement had been "carefully judged to benefit everyone" and preserve "free trade for millions of people in the United Kingdom and across Europe".

"While we made our fair share of compromises during the negotiations, we never wavered from the goal of restoring national sovereignty", he wrote.

Senior UK government minister Michael Gove wrote in The Times newspaper that the deal would allow Britain to bring "innovation and investment to parts of the country that have endured economic decline".

He added there were still "significant changes" to be prepared for by businesses in the short term.

To ratify the deal, Britain's parliament has been recalled to sit on December 30. A vote in favour is virtually assured after the UK's main opposition Labour Party said its MPs would back it.

In Brussels, the European Commission has proposed the agreement be applied on a provisional basis until 28 February.

The European Parliament will be asked for its consent to the deal in 2021 and for the process to be concluded the Council, which brings together the executives of all 27 member states, must adopt the decision.

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